THE NEW J.K. ROWLING
And she’s from the Sunny Coast
A QUEENSLAND author touted as the next J.K. Rowling says her supportive teachers and family fostered her love of reading and writing from a young age.
Jessica Townsend, 32, grew up on the Sunshine Coast, but next month will embark on an international book tour for the release of her debut children’s fantasy novel Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow.
Last October, she secured a six-figure, three-book deal and 20th Century Fox snapped up the film rights. Ms Townsend said she was interested in writing “from a really young age” and was taught to read by an older sister when she was four.
“When I was seven, I wrote this story called The
Three Koalas – it was ridiculously long. I think the teacher asked for three sentences and I’d written about 30,” she said. “My teacher or my mum sent it to the Caloundra Library and the librarian was very sweet, she pub- lished it in the newsletter and I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world.”
Ms Townsend said she had an inspiring English teacher at Kawana State High School, who was “still a friend to this day”. “I always did really well at school. I had subjects that I really loved like English, drama and modern history … I loved really anything to do with stories and words,” she said.
She said she “can’t wait” until her debut was “out in the world”.
“It’s a hard thing for me to wrap my head around, partly because the deadline for book two is so close. “When I’m thinking about the actual book coming out … it’s weird to me that all that stuff is happening. “I feel it probably won’t seem real until the book is on my doorstep.” The publishing deal has created a buzz with her novel being compared to the Harry Potter series. “As a children’s author, I can’t think of anything more flattering to even utter my name in the same sentence as J.K. Rowling,” she said.
POTTER-PEN: Author Jessica Townsend is a whiz with words.